Children should be involved in drawing up a code of behaviour for themselves, however, it is important that in working with children an appropriate adult with relevant skills and competencies participates, to support them in developing the code of behaviour.
The methods used in creating a code of behaviour should be age and ability appropriate, with children being encouraged to avoid merely drawing up a list of prohibitions. Instead, the code should be comprised of positive statements about respect, and should consider what consequences ensue if the code is broken.
In developing the code, consideration should be given to the following:
- Treating everyone with respect;
- Treating property with respect;
- Not consuming alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs;
- Agreeing not to bring any physical item into the Church activity that may cause offence or harm to others;
- Acting as a good role model;
- Attending activities on time;
- Signing in and out;
- Turning off your mobile phone;
- Telling someone you trust if you feel uncomfortable with any situation or individual;
- Not using bad language when communicating by phone or email;
- Never bullying anyone or sending threatening messages.
For an example of a workshop to create a code of behaviour with children, refer to (S4.8)
A sample Code of Behaviour is presented below. A copy of the Code will be given to parents when they sign a consent form for children prior to their joining parish activities.
Sample code of behaviour for children taking part in Church activities
- Our parish expects that children will act respectfully of themselves, their supervisors and fellow participants.
- Participants must accept the ground rules of activities which supervisors will clearly explain to them.
- Children will not have access to the use of email or the internet when participating in our parish programmes.
- Breaches of discipline and disruptive behaviour, including bullying, will be dealt with in a manner that is fair and transparent, by more than one member of Church personnel.
- Children and their parents will be advised of the consequences for breaching the Code of Behaviour.
- Where there are breaches of the Code of Behaviour the following approaches will be followed: the first stage will be a verbal warning, discussion with and support for the child who may be asked to apologise for their behaviour; a second stage will involve involving the child`s parents; third stage – if the behaviour continues, invoke sanctions. Sanctions may include: • time out of group activity; • a parent/guardian may be asked to attend group activities with their child for a period of time; • the code of behaviour should be revisited and agreed upon; • in serious cases, suspension or even exclusion from the group should be considered.
The child, parents and group leaders will be involved in the consultation.
Children or their parents who are dissatisfied with any aspect of activities or services can follow a complaints procedure, namely to inform the leader of the programme or, when appropriate, to contact one of our Parish Safeguarding Representatives through the parish office. A complaints form is available at (S4.13)
- The parish only accepts liability or responsibility for an incident or accident caused by the negligence or breach of statutory duty of the parish, its staff and volunteers.
- It is the responsibility of the parents to be on time when dropping off or collecting children.
- All participants must keep to the code of behaviour for this activity, otherwise they may be asked not to continue their participation.
- Leaders are not allowed to give participants a lift to or from activities.
- Any concerns regarding the welfare and safety of children participating in parish activities should be brought immediately to the attention of the Parish Safeguarding Representative, the Designated Liaison Person or the statutory authorities.